Chapter 4—Direct Access
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one" —A. J. Liebling
Most business people see media coverage as a benefit. Until blogging, the common wisdom was that press coverage was the most credible way to bolster the company name and reputation. To most organizations, press coverage remains a huge benefit. Many invest significant dollars into PR campaigns with media coverage a primary objective. Yet, more often than is noted, people and companies are disappointed by what is written about them. A colleague involved in a hotly disputed local issue recently told us, “If I read something on a subject I know, I usually find significant factual inaccuracies and I often find the reporter took an unfair or ignorant slant. Often, that slant favors my side, but it’s still wrong.”
Some executives, in positions where the spotlight constantly glares, can get coverage that others think they would covet, and they just don’t want it anymore. These executives complain that the press abridges what they have to say in ways that distort their original statements. They assert the press does a shoddy job of checking facts before publishing; of manipulating direct quotes and taking obstinate stances when mistakes. One well-publicized example are the hollow sounding words of, “CBS stands by its story,” which were echoed stubbornly before the network had to admit that Dan Rather’s evidence against George Bush’s military record were probable forgeries.
Blogging provides the first adequate toolset to let executives and business people get their messages out to directly to their audiences—and to hear back from them. This could not happen through the media or other relay mechanisms.
While top executives have the power to take the press on, direct access to key audiences is essential to most people in business. During more than 20 years in PR, co-author Israel mostly covered startups. On many occasions his clients were distraught over what they felt was unfair or inaccurate coverage. His observation was that editors took dismissing—even arrogant attitudes, when mistakes were pointed out. They resisted printing retractions or doing corrective follow up stories. They told clients to write a letter to the editor, which is rarely as well-read and never as prominently placed as a news story.Even in the letters, clients did not get their say, as editors edited and condensed the complaining letters.
Blogs do not completely answer this issue. But they have already proven to be the most powerful tool to directly access company constituencies, short of buying your own printing press. Come to think of it, blogs are a whole lot less expensive than a printing press as well. And they change the balance with a certain elegant irony. “While a journalist is writing about my blog, I’m blogging about his journalism. This is change,” Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO of Sun Microsystems told us. This obviously recalibrates the tilt on the playing field in ways that have not previously happened.
Bob Lutz, General Motors vice chairman told us he was “looking for a direct line of communication with the world” Through his blog. In his first posting, he declared, “In the age of the Internet anyone can be a journalist.” He feels his blog—GM FastLane ("http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives/2005/04/and_another_thi_1.html" allows him to do that. Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban was more direct: His blog “was in response to the media primarily. I was tired of four- hour interviews being turned into 500-word reports that mis-characterized the interviews. I sat down with Fortune Magazine for what I thought was a serious interview and it turned into something completely different. Those types of situations were the catalyst for me to start blogging.”
Cuban’s blog often admonishes sports journalists for lack of accuracy, intelligence and laziness in their coverage, not just of his Mavericks basketball team, but in covering sports in general. He doesn’t hedge. After a TV reporter speculated on a lack of chemistry between the Mavs coach and players, he wrote: “ABC Sports should take immediate action against Jim Gray and suspend him from working until he apologizes … .”Early on, his blog wielded armloads of anecdotal and statistical evidence of poor officiating and he claims that his efforts have resulted in improved referee standards in the National Basketball Association.
Dave Winer, well-recognized as one of the blogosphere’s leading pioneers, related a horror story about the The Guardian, a London-based paper which published an article involving syndication by a reporter who had been part of the story being covered. Winer said the reporter quoted himself as an “observer” and failed to disclose his involvement. When Winer confronted the newspaper’s management for inaccurate and misleading journalism, he said the editors turned a deaf ear. Although blogging’s father did not start blogging to bypass the press, he has long been quick to express frustrations with the way he has been covered.
Executives we interviewed indicated, in one way or another, that blogging was among their top priorities. Cuban kept posting even as his team entered a tense playoff season. Lutz was embroiled in controversies following the company’s loss of $1.1 billion dollars and the reduction of his responsibilities and an advertising lock out of the LA Times. Amid all that, Lutz took time not only to answer our questions, but kept blogging after only a four-day hiatus. >“The Sun Keeps Coming Up,” which started with, “Every so often, we all have to do a bit of a sense check, just to make sure that the sun will indeed rise tomorrow. And, amidst all of the gloom and doom surrounding GM lately, I'd like to give yet another alternative viewpoint,” then posted a series about new GM cars that excite him, even as some newspapers hinted the controversial executive would step down. The press was also reading his blog. As his posting increased in frequency, the editorial speculation seemed to diminish.
Each executive treats blogging a little differently. They came to it through different routes and each represents a diverse culture. At this level, these guys do not waste time. Yet, each obviously see the value in taking the time to post, and to varying degrees, join in on conversations. In each case, direct access to audiences that matter, was part of their answers.
Driving in the Fast lane
Lutz, is the only Fortune 10 boardroom executive who, to our knowledge, blogs. His goal, through his blog GM FastLane he says, is to “engage the public regarding our products and services. The blog has become an important, unfiltered (emphasis on ‘unfiltered’) voice. Now we have … a direct-line of communication. It has become indispensable.”
That direct line was being well-used when we interviewed Lutz. At the time, GM had just announced it would cut off advertising to the LA Times, the largest newspaper west of the Mississippi. Gary Grates, a GM Communications vice president took to FastLane to argue GM’s case in persuasive terms. Comments, which appeared to be unfiltered, were overwhelmingly supportive of the GM position. In fact, at least one member of the automotive press had chimed in with supporting comments on the blog.
Lutz declined to discuss the LA Times incident specifically, but much of what he had to say seemed relevant to it. He told us “blogs can be … an equalizing force when dealing with media criticism. It is fantastic because blogging is a self-regulating media.” He declined to broadside the media in general, “there certainly are knowledgeable journalists in the media, who -- on balance -- report fairly and only after having carefully checked their facts. Regrettably, many others feel compelled to jump on the bandwagon all-too-easily, taking hearsay and superficial impressions for factual evidence and often coming to the wrong conclusions. That can be very damaging to the business. Recently, a negative article was published declaring one of our vehicles a flop. Within a few days, a third-party blogger analyzed the article and discredited it with the facts.”
Direct access, Lutz emphasizes, is a larger issue than just bypassing unsupportive reporters. According to Lutz, his blog has started to chip through the crust of GM’s stodgy image by demonstrating some passion in corporate leadership and “a willingness to listen to everyday people.” Anyone who calls us averse to criticism or thin-skinned obviously has not read the blog,” Lutz told us. He says that FastLane shows that GM’s leadership advocates an “honest, transparent culture.” Communicating with us during highly-adverse times, the vice chairman noted that readers have been a source of encouragement, and reviewing hundreds of comments would indicate that is indeed the case. “It shows how much passion people have for cars and trucks. It also serves as a reminder how many people are pulling for GM. It's terrific.” He added that comments are a “source for ideas that could impact new cars” although he served up no examples.
Lutz uses staff to manage the enormous flow of comments. They send him email digests that may eliminate some redundancy, but they keep in adverse comments. The highly mobile executive peruses the summaries in airports and in-flight through his trusty Blackberry handheld computer.
The blogging community sometimes admonishes Lutz for answering comments in a group posting rather than joining in on direct conversations. Still others complain that Lutz never links to other bloggers, and he admits that he simply doesn’t have time to hang out in the blogosphere with developers and other groups. Some say that lack of interactivity removes the authenticity from the conversation.
We think otherwise. Lutz demonstrates transparency and a desire to listen. His language may sound more corporate than Blake Ross at SpreadFirefox, but then, Lutz is more corporate than your everyday developer. But, to most people he comes across both transparent and authentic, two essentials for successful blogging. Lutz also scores highly on the two most fundamental rules: passion and authority.
His “breech” of perceived blogosphere rules demonstrates the inevitable fact that blogging, as it enters corporations, can adapt to corporate cultures without bastardizing the essentials. Lutz sounds corporate enough but he doesn’t use “corpspeak.” We can’t picture him getting help from a ghostwriter, and occasional typos and grammar gaffs, give the reader a sense of an intelligent executive writing in a hurry.
He is a guy in a hurry and he can’t afford to waste time.Yet he takes the time to blog even during the busiest of times. Direct access is what makes it worth his time.
Moving the Whole Damned Compass
Sun’s Schwartz, by contrast, immerses himself deeply into the blogosphere. He has good reason. It’s where tech developers and financial analysts hang out—two primary audiences for Sun. He started his Jonathan Schwartz Weblog to reach them in June 2004.
We asked Schwartz how he became such an adept blogger. “I type fast and I talk a lot. Good bloggers are chatty and are into relationships.” The blogosphere lets him hang out where he can meet people good for Sun. “When I started seeing who was reading me I was stunned. It was our customers and the analysts. Everywhere I go, more and more people tell me they are reading my blogs.”
He asked rhetorically, “What are my other options to reach developers? Take out a LinuxWorld ad? My readership is bigger than theirs is.”
Schwartz made blogging a Sun strategic initiative encouraging other employees to join in. Less than a year later, more than 1000 of Sun’s 32,000 employees were blogging, making it, by percentage, the “bloggingest” of all companies. Schwartz argues that having so many employee nodes into the blogging network is a key reason the company is experiencing “such a strong turnaround in developer relations.” We asked if blogging had really moved the needle. “It’s moved the whole damned compass,” he retorted.
Schwartz’s posted musings usually relate to Sun, but they include whatever he feels like saying. One blog started by discussing his son’s haircut, meandered through a Zen reference, then explained that Sun had made a mistake by installing sidewalks before observing routes taken by employees, who often strayed from walkways. “Sun’s culture encourages people to cut their own paths,” he observed. This is an important point to communicate, he feels. “We are in a global war for talent. We have to prove we are a more vibrant, interesting and open company. These blogs reflect the quality of the people and that’s the quality of the company.”
Schwartz, not only blogs several times per week and sometimes per day, but he spends time being part of the blogosphere. “It’s a community of communities. I recently had breakfast with Dave Winer. What do we have in common? We both blog.” Much more than Lutz, Schwartz sees the blogosphere as an immersive place for Sun. A key to the company’s comeback attempt depends on building open source developer support for Sun’s Solaris 10 operating system.
He has predicted that in the near future all software will be free and that surviving companies will need to move the value away from traditional delivery of a piece of software, a popular position in the blogosphere and a forecast that if proven true, could slowly, but eventually, push competitor Microsoft off its seat of control.
Both blogging and open source, in his eyes, are part of a new “Participation Age.” We asked him what blogging’s role will be in this new era. “It’s kerosene on the fire,” he said. “The Participation Age has been on the Net since email. Moving from there to blogging is like moving from carrier pigeon to phone. The emergence of blogs means we have passed beyond early crude tools and it results in fundamental changes on how everything relates.”
By contrast, to other executives we asked, Schwartz voices respect for journalists and the editorial process. Still, he lauds the benefits of direct access. He became president in April 2004, when the company was at a nadir in relationships with both critical audiences.
While many executive bloggers discuss blogs as a way to bypass journalists and thus gain direct access to audiences, Schwartz extols their value. Journalists “are there because they are independent thinkers, who provide fresh insights. Like the rest of us, they may get a fact or two wrong from time-to-time. But that’s not the point. Journalists can jump off the rail companies are on and take it to points that interest audiences more than corporate spokespeople do. That adds value even if they get a few facts wrong.”
From his perspective, blogging’s advantage is in its “transparency and authenticity.” Over 1000 Sun bloggers give people outside the company multiple views inside it and an authentic view of the company culture from rank and file up to Schwartz. These perspectives “are infinitely more valuable than Federal governance regulations. Executives are missing a point. There is no perfect truth despite transparency.” He argued that SEC requirements for quarterly reporting is far from as revealing as this horde of bloggers talking daily and in public about “the guts of the company.”
Unlike what we heard at Microsoft, there was no ambivalence about blogging at Sun. Legal never stepped in to assess risk and the corporate communications people embraced it from the start, according to Schwartz. “Most PR teams would cringe, but ours didn’t. We have a transparent culture and competitors like HP do not. Our PR team is thinking about how to use technology and culture as a corporate weapon and blogging does both.” Noel Hartzell, executive communications director for Schwartz added, that Sun’s focus is in building communities and “a key function of the communications team is to be an information gatherer, analyzer and counselor on participating in these communities. A bad way to do PR is to blast press releases every Thursday. We help feed the right information into the right channels. What could be better for a PR organization than blogs?”
Schwartz sees blogging as a watershed bi-directional change. “I don’t read blogs—I read. Blogs are more searchable. Technorati and PubSub are more useful to me than Google. It’s easier for me to connect in a blog-based world. People in Morocco and Australia have input into how we grow. I graze Sun’s blogs and read the comments. If a developer has a perception … that’s valuable, I know about it fast. We get all kinds of helpful comments. I just read a comment from a developer in Portugal,who thinks we’re the bee’s knees. It’s terrific to see that kind of stuff.”
Rivals also watch Sun’s postings. A competitor we know, speaking in background told us, “We had counted Sun out. We assumed by now they would be dead or irrelevant. They’re back. I think it’s their [expletive] blogs. We just went into a customer meeting and they were asking us about some stuff that (Sun Developer) Tim Bray had posted that morning.”
Schwartz often tweaks competitive noses, sometimes playfully, occasionally with vitriol. He recently made direct appeals to the HP customer community after HP announced a barrage of bad news. He once posted an open letter to IBM’s Sam Palmisano, in which he chided the chairman and CEO for not supporting a Solaris upgrade, charging that IBM was preventing its customer access to the “most secure operating system available.” He knew full well that the letter would do little to endear him to Big Blue. But it was a clever ruse to bypass the company and appeal directly to IBM customers who rallied to Sun’s cause. “Now, IBM is much more accommodating,” he stated flatly.
Like other bloggers, he takes risks, occasionally stepping into a bucket. He once confessed to enjoying kangaroo meat on a trip to Australia, entreating readers not to tell his kids. A while back, a Sun executive sent him a link to a Japanese company that promised blogging would “enhance your physique.” Schwartz thought it was “funny, human and culturally interesting.” He did a quick post. Later, alarmed colleagues informed him that had he looked closer he would have seen some graphically explicit enhanced physiques on the site.
According to Schwartz, “The perception of Sun as a faithful and authentic tech company is now very strong. What blogs have done has authenticated the Sun brand better than a billion dollar ad campaign could have done. I care more about the ink you get from developer community than any other coverage. Sun has experienced a sea change in their perception of us and that has come from blogs. Everyone blogging at Sun is verifying that we possess a culture of tenacity and authenticity.”
When he was 12, Mark Cuban started his first business -- selling garbage bags door-to-door in a working class Philadelphia neighborhood. In the 80s, like so many entrepreneurs, he found his way into the computer industry by starting MicroSolutions, a computer consulting firm, which he sold to CompuServe in 1990 making him a millionaire.
But he was just setting his stride. Living in Dallas, he wanted to hear basketball games from Indiana State, his alma mater and could not. To solve the problem, he co-founded broadcast.com, a pioneer Internet radio and TV service that showed enough promise to go public, without profitability. But that didn’t matter. Yahoo! acquired broadcast.com. In 1999 Cuban became a billionaire. To celebrate, he bought a huge home in an affluent neighborhood, and for a mere $285 million, he purchased the Dallas Mavericks, one of the most consistently mediocre teams in NBA history.
He invested heavily in the talent to transfer the team to be a contender, which the team now is. Cuban also became the team’s most passionate and demonstrative fan. As a consequence, he has ponied up over $1 million in fines for some of his in-your-face courtside antics with referees and the TV cameras have caught him sharing chest thumps with team members. He once said the head of NBA referees “couldn’t manage a Dairy Queen,” then, so as not to offend Dairy Queen managers, spent a day working in one.
When not clashing with referees, Cuban lets off steam duking it out with the press. His aforementioned duke out with ABC’s Gray is but one example. His blog is free-ranging and free-swinging. He takes on Hollywood copyright goblins and speculates on the death of CDs as well as Wall Street’s naked” stock shorters and whatever else catches either his enthusiasm or chagrin. Cuban did not comment on whether or not this was a wise course for a blogger. He says he does it because he has the freedom to do so.
He told us he blogs about whatever is on his mind about any subject he thinks is important. He started posting “primarily in response to the media,” giving us the Fortune magazine incident as but one example. He thinks the blog and the Internet has given him the tools to offset what the press has to say about him and his team. He says executives should blog, but only “if they have a vision they are trying to communicate, or if they are very visible in the media.”
I think that any reporter or columnist will be a little more careful when doing interviews with me, specifically, because I do 99 percent of my interviews now via email. So, I have a paper trail that is ready and available to be revealed on my blog,” he told us.
Cuban doesn’t believe that his BlogMaverick, has done much to geographically extend his fan base and he hasn’t used it for that purpose. However, we know people in New England, New Orleans, San Francisco Bay area, the United Kingdom and Singapore who say they now follow the Mavs, because they follow Cuban’s blog and it is part of what makes the Mavs a very colorful franchise. Likewise, the franchise staff reads the blog to see what’s on the boss’s mind, but he adds, “it’s not a management tool of any sort.” It seems to us that anything that tells the staff what the boss is thinking, is a management tool—whether intended that way or not.
Where BlogMaverick has made a difference, he believes is how referees behave. He says, “There’s little doubt about it. The league handles officiating in a far more professional manner than prior to my arrival. They approach it like a real business unit now. They didn’t in the past.”
Where Cuban took a …maverick view from other executive bloggers was on the issue of employee blog policy. While all executives interviewed for this book encouraged company blogging, Cuban does not. He advises executives considering a blog, “make sure you are the boss. I don't think I would encourage executives who work for me to blog. There can be only one public vision for an organization. … The boss and subordinates don’t always see eye-to-eye and having more than one message going out via blogs, can be very counter-productive.”
When we earlier posted this interview on a blog used in writing this book, this comment drew fire. “He misses the whole point,” huffed one commenter. “His idea is that his blog is a big stick that he can use to poke the media. That's a petty point of view,” observed Microsoft blogger Randy Holloway. “In my humble opinion, this kind of forced hierarchy is counter-productive and artificial,” wrote Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson, the ninth largest publisher. “Man would I pass on working for this guy,” wrote freelance journalist-editor Curt Hopkins whose credits include Newsweek and Reuters. “I hope you cite Cuban as a bad or misguided example for blogging.”
Dave Winer’s style is the antithesis of the stereotypical corporate CEO , but for many years he was one, as head of UserLand, an innovative software development company. His confrontational style is legendary and not always held dear. We’ve heard him described as an “iconoclast,” “curmudgeon” and “annoyingly cantankerous” among more graphic terms. Yet, the same people admire Winer’s brilliance and hold reverence to his pioneer roles in the births of both blogs and RSS syndication
We include him here because his antipathy toward press is also legendary. And the press has written how his desire to bypass the media motivated him to invent blogs. Those accounts, he says, are but another example of why he holds them in low esteem. “I did not start blogging to get around the press. That is yet another example of the press not letting a few facts get in the way of telling a good story. The press reports mythology, not facts.”
The truth, is that the story of his discovery of the power of blogs, according to Winer, is less dramatic and more one of accidental discovery. He was working on a collaborative project called 24 Hours in Democracy while serving as an editor for the online version of Wired magazine. He was enmeshed in this massive national project with a huge number of moving parts—“Sort of a tech sector moon mission,” he recalls. “I needed a way to organize the website and started putting things in reverse chronological order with links to other sources. I thought: this is way cool. I think I’ll come back to this approach after this project is over and check it out some more.”
He had been publishing DaveNet, an e-newsletter with a significant following in the technology community since the early 1990s. In his view, DaveNet was in essence already a blog because it was him speaking in his own voice about whatever interested him. But spam had pulverized email as a distribution mechanism. So Winer turned to a new medium—personal websites with Scripting News.
He started tinkering with some enabling software, developed at Microsoft, called XML, or more specifically, a subset named RSS for “Really Simple Syndication.” He coded in a few new features to RSS that made the format more applicable to blogs, and added it to Scripting News, so that people could “subscribe” and have it delivered into a new piece of software called “a news aggregator.” This would make reading these new personal weblogs much more efficient than surfing the web. The average computer user could stay current on more than a hundred RSS-enabled sites rather than 10-12 websites (some “super readers” like Scoble actually follow more than 1,000 RSS feeds). Such efficiency bordered on the revolutionary. Also important, was RSS was a “clean” way to deliver to email software—without spam.
Now Scripting News was without question the first weblog in both substance and in form.
Probably by coincidence, Netscape was also playing with XML at same the time, and even had its own RSS, which they said stood for “RDF Site Summary.” They contacted Winer for a sit-down. When they met, Winer says, Netscape refused to change its version. “I got angry. Why don’t we just both do it the same way, I asked. It’s infinitely better to have one way to do it rather than two. I went for a walk and thought it over. And, said OK, why don’t I throw out what I’ve done. I took their format and changed mine to match it. Then Netscape made some changes to incorporate some features unique to Winer’s. This awkward collaboration resulted in RSS 2.0, a single standard now universally adopted.
It gave Winer the direct voice he wanted and he set a tone that has also shaped the blogosphere. He thinks blogs should represent “the unedited voice of an individual. It’s not an organization speaking. It’s informal. It’s ‘Come as you are. We’re just folks here.' We’re not concerned with typos or grammar errors.’ Which remind readers that it’s just a human speaking.” Winer would argue that this informal style has far greater appeal than the more polished stuff of corporate communications teams"I don’t like sterile, politically correct writing. I like writing that stimulates ideas and new thinking.”
He also loves writing that bypasses the press. He has written at length and with chagrin about the way the media has condensed and misquoted him. He told us that nearly every article he has seen on podcasting (audio blogs) has been erroneous, that nearly all articles regarding his early role, “was spun in the most dramatic way possible,” and that the media does not like having done to them what they do to others.
They don’t want the light shone on themselves, which is ironic because journalists are experts at shining the light on others. … This is why we have blogs. We have blogs because we can’t trust these guys,” he told us.
Winer also believes his blog is an “incredible research vehicle,” giving him direct access to people who write the source material on all sorts of topics. If he has a question, particularly a technical one, he asks it on his blog and says it gets answered in about five minutes. “These guys just swarm. They love showing off. It’s really cool. Sometimes showing off is the generous thing to do. ” However," he added, “the hard part is when I make a mistake. What you really have to do is say [on your blog] is: “I made a mistake.” I don’t always agree with it when people say I make a mistake and it sometimes gets flamey, but you have to take each one seriously. There’s a check and a balance. The press is now in this flow whether they accept or appreciate it or not. Their words and expressions are now part of this flow. And they often don’t like it. Bloggers are a very big group. There’s millions of us and we are looking very carefully what they [journalists] do.”
He added, “you certainly need a blog to bypass the press. Without blogs we could not connect people together where everyone gets a chance to speak. You can get things done with blogs you can’t with the press who tends to believe that you need to work inside a big company to have an answer.
We asked him what he thought about executive bloggers. He told us, “it’s going to be a long time before every executive is blogging. I’d love it if it happened faster. That would mean we created an upheaval in the way things are and the way organizations work. Certainly, a company that has an exec who blogs is going to be seen as more approachable and customers will want to buy more products. Company bloggers will have a better idea of what’s happening and make decisions that will make the company more profitable because of their interaction with the blogging community. He’s more interested in people who blog than in companies who blog. “The act of creativity—only a person can do it, a company cannot. Company bloggers will get ideas for new products from creative people. A company that allows blogging should be well-tied into the community of bloggers and enjoy the interaction.”
Doing It in Private
Direct access is larger than bypassing the press or even your own communications organizations. One of the most interesting is one where the blogger would prefer we didn’t know about what he’s doing. Intel CEO Paul Ottelini, writes Paul’s Blog to talk with and listen to 86,000 employees worldwide, privately, from behind a firewall. This is a different form of direct access and employees are unquestionably a key constituency for a global CEO. There are also some risks, he discovered, in sharing your innermost thoughts with 86,000 professional colleagues.
Why am I doing this, he wrote in his first posting in December 2004. Well, it seemed like a good idea to be able to create an ongoing vehicle to share my thoughts and observations on Intel and our industry with our employees and to allow you an opportunity to have a platform for your thoughts or responses. And respond they do. In the two months of posting, we got to see numerous responses to Otellini’s comments, all polite but several were challenging and served up some dissent.
Ottelini first agreed to discuss Paul’s blog with us, then politely declined. A company spokesperson told us, “All things considered, it is a private blog and he prefers to keep it private. How does one do that? Perhaps that’s impossible. Our source—and the postings we read came from an unauthorized article in the San Jose Mercury.
But so far, that has been the only breech. His predecessor Craig Barrett wrote an executive newsletter to employees that were also characterized as “confidential.” It was leaked so often, that observers began to believe it was intentionally being used to that purpose. We find it encouraging that there has been but a single violation for Otellini after five months. If building a trusted network for direct sharing and challenging of ideas was his object, we would have to say it appears he’s achieving it.
Private collaboration makes up a significant portion of business blogging.http://www.whatsnextblog.com/archives/2005/04/misquoted_in_th_1.asp ), pointed out the new phenomenon of the stealth interview. It seems some editors have taken to following blogs, extracting quotes from them, then reporting a story as if they actually had conducted interviews with people whom they had never contacted.
Unless you work for a private or public intelligence operation such as Homeland security or have a job couched in enormous privacy, or have a company whose behavior is unethical, chances are likely you will benefit from direct conversations not couched in terms devised by committees of lawyers and marketing consultants.
Most companies, of all sizes, will be wise to follow Winer’s advice: “Come as you are.” Talk as you talk. Let people who matter get to know you through a blog, and listen closely to what they tell you.